Viola player’s claim for damaged hearing succeeds in the High Court
Health & Safety , Live Events / April 2018
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Chris Goldscheider, a former Royal Opera House viola player has won a landmark High Court judgment after he suffered a life-changing hearing injury at a rehearsal of Wagner’s Die Walkure in 2012. The claim came from a rehearsal on the 1st September 2012, Mr Goldscheider was seated directly in front of the 18 strong brass section of the orchestra for a rehearsal in the orchestra pit at the Royal Opera House. Evidence presented showed that during that rehearsal, the noise levels exceeded 137 decibels, roughly equivalent to that of a jet engine 100 feet away. Despite wearing ear defenders Mr Goldscheider’s hearing was irreversibly damaged and he claimed damages for acoustic shock, a condition with symptoms including tinnitus, hyperacusis and dizziness. He told the BBC: “With this condition if you are exposed to normal sounds, unfortunately they become incredibly painful” adding “I suppose the nearest analogy is if you imagine for a normal person to walk on normal ground and then you imagine walking barefoot on glass.” Mr Goldscheider studied in Prague and the UK and played with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and BBC Symphony orchestras. In 2002 he joined the viola section of the…

West wins payout in insurance battle
Contract , Live Events / April 2018
UK
USA

CONTRACT Live events sector   Rapper Kanye West has settled his battle against Lloyd’s of London, which began when insurers refused to pay out West’s claim stemming from the cancellation of several dates on his 2016 Saint Pablo tour.  The Stour ran from August to November. West performed 41 shows in 87 days before the stoppage. In all, 22 dates were cancelled. West has not ventured back on the road since those cancelled dates. According to TMZ, the insurer has agreed to pay most of what West was claiming. Initially, Lloyd’s had refused to make any payment on the grounds  that the mental health issues which West suffered had stemmed from his drug use, which would have voided the policy. West’s touring company Very Good Touring sued Lloyd’s for $9.8 million (plus interest) and Lloyd’s had originally counter-sued. West was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital in November of 2016 following a series of “bizarre incidents” including feuding with Beyonce and Jay-Z, telling a San Jose, California crowd that he would have voted for then President-elect Trump if he had voted, and stopping a show after two songs and 30 minutes in Sacramento. A source told NBC news at the time that police responded…

Will Australia ban secondary ticketing?
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / March 2018
Australia

CONSUMER / COMPETITION Live events sector   Following on from the introduction of tough anti-touting laws in the state of New South Wales last year, Australia’s federal government is considering a nationwide ban on the re-sale of tickets in some circumstances.   According to Australia’s Daily Telegraph, the country’s government is considering five possible options to legislate in the market for the resale of tickets. One of those options is to completely outlaw the re-selling of tickets by anyone other than primary outlets.   The government’s Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, Michael Sukkar, told the newspaper that the aim of any proposed legislation would be to benefit consumers, saying: “I expect consumers should always get a fair deal when purchasing tickets for events and to access all available tickets on the market. While we are still working to properly address these problems, Australians can be assured that we will do all that is necessary to protect them from any unfair or unscrupulous practices”.   In October last year, the New South Wales government passed an amendment to its Fair Trading Act, banning the selling of tickets at anything more than 10% of their face value. Substantial fines were put in place as…

New UK anti-bot ticketing legislation
Competition , Live Events / February 2018
UK

COMPETITION / CONSUMER Live events sector   The UK Government has unveiled new legislation aimed at preventing ticket touts from using so called ‘bots’ to bulk buy tickets. The new measure will be a new criminal offence contained in the Digital Economy Act, and touts who use automated software to harvest tickets to sell on at inflated prices, in effect circumventing limits on maximum ticket purchases set by event organisers and vars on the subsequent re-sale of tickets, will face unlimited fines. Matt Hancock, the UK’s minister for the creative industries, said: “We’re determined to make sure 2018 is the year we help real fans get the chance to see their favourite music and sports stars at a fair price. We’ll be acting to stamp out the growing problem of touts misusing technology to scoop up vast numbers of tickets only to sell them on at rip-off prices” adding “Our work, together with improvements by industry, will help make the market more transparent and mean a great year for Britain’s thriving live events scene.” The UK Government has now notified the European Commission of its plans to take forward the proposals, a move that comes as part of a crackdown to tackle misuse of…

Kid Rock’s tour NOT the Greatest Show on Earth
Live Events , Trade Mark / February 2018
USA

TRADE MARK Live events sector   Feld Entertainment, the owner of circus company Ringling Bros, has forced Kid Rock and promoter Live Nation to change the name of a tour. It’s all over an alleged trademark infringement with the Kid Rock tour due to start on the 19th January and billed as the Greatest Show on Earth tour. Feld claims the tour, dilutes and infringes on its “famous trademark”, ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.  Feld Entertainment, Inc. et al v. Ritchie et al, was filed in the US District Court for Middle Florida and seeks to force Kid Rock (Robert James Richie) and promoter Live Nation to change the name of the tour and turn over any revenue from merchandise featuring the disputed slogan, as well as additional unspecified damages. The name change has now happened – the tour was re-branded the American Rock ’n Roll tour According to Feld’s general counsel, Lisa Joiner, the company took the decision to go to the courts after “repeatedly contact[ing] defendants to obtain their cooperation to stop the infringement and [being] ignored”. “We have authorised licensees for Ringling Bros and The Greatest Show On Earth, but Kid Rock is not one of them,” she adds. “This historic…

UK adopts ‘against of change’ to protect music venues
Live Events / February 2018
UK

PLANNING Live events sector   On the back of a private members bill which almost certainly failed to have reached the statute books, the UK government has agreed is to write the “agent-of-change” principle into planning law, in an announcement welcomed as a “seismic victory” for music venues by UK Music chief executuve Michael Dugher. Its a major triumph for the live sector and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid MP confirmed that the National Planning Policy Framework, with which local authorities are legally bound to comply, will be amended to include “detailed reference” to agent of change, making housing developers building new homes near exisiting UK venues responsible for addressing noise issues. Javid said: “Music venues play a vital role in our communities, bringing people together and contributing to the local economy and supporting the country’s grassroots music culture. I have always thought it unfair that the burden is on long-standing music venues to solve noise issues when property developers choose to build nearby. That’s why I consulted on this in February last year as part of the housing white paper” adding “I am pleased to finally have an opportunity to right this wrong and also…

Sir Paul backs the ‘agent of change’ law
Licensing , Live Events / February 2018
UK

PLANNING / LICENSING Live events sector   Artists and music industry leaders joined politicians in Westminster to support the ‘agent of change’ principle as John Spellar MP presented his bill to Parliament in a legislative move which if successful would change UK planning law so that property developers putting new residential buildings close to existing music venues would be responsible for identifying and resolving any future sound issues. This agent of change proposals, which attracted a message of support from Sir Paul McCartney, aims to ensure that music venues are protected from new arrivals who move into an area. The former Beatle was joined by Brian Eno, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, The Kinks’ Ray Davies in backing a plan to stop the closure of grassroots venues after more than a third were said to have closed in the past decade, according to research by UK Music. In his speech to Parliament Spellar said: “I accept that there is a variety of reasons for the decline in venues, but many relate to changes in the neighbourhood, increasingly when redundant commercial or industrial premises are converted to residential, or are knocked down and rebuilt, or as empty sites are developed” adding “Of course, much of that…

Live Nation settles damaging ‘Songkick’ litigation
Competition , Live Events / February 2018
USA

COMPETITION Live events sector   Live Nation has announced that it had come to a settlement agreement with Complete Entertainment Resources Group, Inc in the ‘Songkick’ saga.  The Songkick owners have accepted a settlement  before the case was due in court on the 24th of this month in what had looked like a fascinating case, and a ‘warts and all’ exploration of the live giant’s business methods. The settlement headlines are that Songkick have accepted the offer of $110 million and the purchase of Songkick assets for an undisclosed sum.  Songkick, which offered both a music discovery app and a fan club ticketing platform, sued Live Nation alleging anti-competitive practices and illegal access to proprietary company information in federal court, in particular Songkick’s software programme which offered a fan base sales platform and on which Ticketmaster’s “Verified Fan” programme allegedly based. The core of the case centered around a former Crowdsurge employee who allegedly used access to the company’s system to provide confidential information to Ticketmaster’s top executives on their competitor. As details of the case began to become public, evidence submitted by Songkick’s legal team was used to support the theory that Ticketmaster took the threat posed by the Songkick/Crowdsurge model very seriously indeed,…

Ticketmaster faces Canadian action against over hidden price hikes
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / February 2018
Canada

CONSUMER / COMPETITION Live events sector   Live Nation’s Ticketmaster is facing legal action from Canada’s Competition Bureau, which has announced that it is taking action against the entertainment giant for allegedly misleading consumers on the pricing for sports and other ticketed events after an investigation found that advertised prices were deceptive because consumers would be forced to pay additional fees which are added later in the purchasing process, which is referred to as “drip pricing.” An investigation found that Ticketmaster’s fees often inflated the prices of a ticket by more than 20 percent, although in some instances this went up to 65 percent of the price consumers pay. The Competition Bureau has requested the Competition Tribunal put an end to the deceptive marketing practices and subject the Live Nation-owned company to a financial penalty. Commissioner of Competition John Pecman said in a statement: “In July, we called on ticket vendors to review their marketing practices. Today, we are filing an application with the [Competition] Tribunal to stop Ticketmaster from making deceptive claims to consumers” adding “Together, these actions send a strong signal to online retailers: consumers must have confidence that advertised prices are the ones they will pay.”  In response, Ticketmaster issued a…

Two cases on either side of the pond puts equality in the spotlight
Live Events / February 2018
UK
USA

EQUALITY Live events sector    Female comedian Iliza Shlesinger is being sued in the US by a male patron who was turned away from her “Girls’ Night In with Iliza – No Boys Allowed” comedy show in Los Angeles. George St. George says he and a friend bought tickets to the show on November 13th through the Largo website. They arrived at the will-call window early, and were given their tickets but told they would need to sit in the back. After returning after a drink they were then told that Shlesinger and the theatre had decided not to allow entry because it was, as advertised, a women-only show, and that they would be refunded for their tickets. The event page on the Largo website says “Iliza is bringing her girls invited only show back to Los Angeles “Girls’ Night In is a hybrid stand up show and interactive discussion between Iliza and the women in the audience aimed at giving women a place to vent in a supportive, fun and inclusive environment. She invites women of all walks of life to come, laugh with her and at her and be ready to share and feel safe for an awesome night of…

Birmingham’s Rainbow to fight licence revocation
Licensing , Live Events / January 2018
UK

LICENSING Live events sector   In the United Kingdom, Birmingham City Council has revoked the licence of  The Rainbow Venues nightclub complex, following the drug-related death of a teenager last month. The decision was made after nineteen year old Michael Trueman died at a Halloween event after taking MDMA in the venue’s toilets. He died in hospital the next day. Resident Advisor reports that PC Abdul Rohomon from the West Midlands told a licensing hearing that the Police had “no option but to call for Rainbow’s licence to be revoked” as this was the second drug-related death in the eleven room complex in two years, the first being eighteen year old Dylan Booth in 2015. He added that there was also “evidence that a fifteen year-old boy has been admitted to the venue”,  based on video footage collected from Snapchat. Rohoman added: “There are around 3000 licensed premises in Birmingham and this is the only venue which has suffered drug related deaths. The most stringent measures are in place yet drugs are still being consumed inside the venue”. The Guardian reports that The Rainbow Venues already took robust action to restrict drug use. In a case that will remind many of…

Digital Music News object to Jay-Z’s legal claims
Defamation , Live Events / January 2018
USA

DEFAMATION Live events sector   Digital Music News are not happy with Jay-Z,  aka Sean Carter, or more specifically his lawyers, Cummings & Lockwood LLC, who they have said threatened them “with ridiculous legal claims” over coverage of poor ticket sales on “Jay-Z’s disastrous ‘4:44’ tour” which Digital Music News described as a “sinking tour” The threats stemmed from an article DMN wrote about the availability of $6 tickets for a 4:44 show in Anaheim, CA, where DMN say they “discovered entire sections of unsold inventory across Anaheim and other upcoming tour dates” and that there was even a show cancelled in Fresno, CA “just days before showtime.” The article prompted a letter from Cummings & Lockwood LLC  (which DMN have reproduced in full) which included the assertion that: Both the headline and content of this article is false.  I am attaching a link for a billboard article which contains more accurate facts regarding 4:44 tour sales.   http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8023168/jay-z-444-tour-highest-grossing-tickets-stubhub And  We demand that you correct your story both in tone and content immediately.  We trust that now that you have correct facts you will not allow your errors to continue.  As I am sure you are aware knowledge of a story being false…

CTS to appeal competition rulings
Competition , Live Events / January 2018
Germany

COMPETITION Live events sector   CTS Eventim is to appeal the decision by the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) which prohibits the Munich-based ticketing giant, the market leader in ticketing in Germany with a 50–70% marketshare in Germany, of requiring partners to “only sell tickets exclusively or to a considerable extent via CTS’s eventim.net ticket sales system” – something it claims is an abuse of the company’s dominant market position. The Bundeskartellamt said that these “abusive exclusivity contracts with event organisers and advance booking offices” are shutting out competing ticketing companies and “encouraging a general trends towards further monopolisation” in Germany. Under the regulator’s decision, Eventim partners must have the option of selling at least 20% of their inventory annually via other ticket agencies, if their deal with the company is longer than two years. CTS has been given four months to comply with the ruling. Andreas Mundt, president of the Bundeskartellamt, said: “As the operator of the largest ticketing system in Germany, CTS Eventim holds a dominant position in the market. Under competition law, a company with such a market position has special obligations …. Where CTS Eventim commits its contract partners to sell tickets exclusively via its own ticketing system, the…

New York Attorney General Files Lawsuit Over Cancelled Buffalove Festival
Consumers , Live Events / January 2018
USA

CONSUMER Live events sector   The Attorney General for New York has filed a lawsuit against concert promoter Cody Conway who allegedly cancelled the Buffalove event without refunding customers nearly $15,000. State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has filed a lawsuit against Conway and the Buffalove Music Festival. Schneiderman is accusing Conway of canceling the three-day Franklinville, New York, festival two weeks before it was scheduled to begin on July 20 and failing to refund 146 customers who bought tickets from $85 to $125 a piece for a combined $14,896.42. The investigation was led by James M. Morrissey and Erica Law with help from Michael Russo and Marty Mack: A statement read “New Yorkers should get what they pay for – and they’re entitled to timely refunds if event organizers don’t follow through on their promises,” and Schneiderman said in the release. “My office won’t tolerate scammers who trick hardworking consumers into forking over cash for performances they’ll never see.” https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8062643/new-york-attorney-general-buffalove-festival-lawsuit-refunds

Love Parade trial begins in Germany
Health & Safety , Live Events / January 2018
Germany

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   Ten of the organisers of the tragic 2010 Love Parade festival are now on trial in Germany.   The ten defendants – four employees of the festival’s promoter, Lopavent, and six officials of the city of Duisburg, in North Rhine-Westphalia, were initially cleared of any wrongdoing in an April 2016 decision by the Duisburg state court, which found there was “no sufficient case to answer”. The ruling was widely criticsed and was described as a “judicial scandal” by relatives of the deceased. The appeals court overturned the decision in April of this year, with prosecutors saying they are confident of convictions the second time around. Twenty-one people died, and more than 650 were injured in the 24th July 2010 crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to the techno festival. Over a million people are said to have attended the 2010 event, which was held at a former goods yard with a capacity of around 250,000. The victims included festivalgoers from Spain, Australia, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China and the Netherlands. The defendants face charges of negligent manslaughter and bodily harm. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison each  The scale of…

French regulator takes aim at Viagogo’s ‘deceptive’ practices
Consumers , Live Events / January 2018
France

CONSUMER Live events sector   In France, Viagogo has been ordered to change its “deceptive” sales and marketing practices in France by the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) which has taken injunctions out against Switzerland-based Viagogo and its Delaware-based division that operates viagogo.fr.   The DGCCRF said Viagogo must stop its misleading commercial practices within the meaning of Articles L.121-2 and L.121-4 of the Consumer Code. these practices include displaying prices that do not include add-on fees (so called ‘drip pricing’) and Viagogo must stop misleading consumers on the availability of the tickets offered. The DGCCRF added that the resale platform should also not resell tickets for subsidised events beyond their face value. The DGCCRF has not disclosed any potential punishment or deadline for Viagogo to comply, but the authority is empowered to fine companies which break French competition law. The resale of tickets without permission from the original seller is prohibited under French law, and Viagogo is believed to owe promoters’ association Prodiss some hundreds of thousands of Euros in fines.   The French Consumer Federation (FRC) had already lodged a criminal complaint with the Geneva Public Prosecutor against Viagogo accusing the company of breaching unfair competition…

Multiple moves against the ticket touts
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / January 2018
Austria
Japan
UK
USA

COMPETITION / CONSUMER Live events sector   In August, the Vienna Commercial Court found that the fees on tickets sold via CTS’s oeticket website, which charges €2.50 for ‘print @ home’ and mobile tickets and €1.90 for those picked up from branches of Libro or oeticket’s own box offices fell foul of Austrian law. Now the Higher Regional Court of Vienna (Oberlandesgericht Wien, OLG) has also ruled against Eventim. VKI said that the OLG took particular exception to the fact oeticket does not offer a fee-free delivery option, leaving the consumer with no option but to pay them. And British consumer protection body National Trading Standards has made four arrests as part of its investigation into the business activities of large-scale secondary ticket sellers in the UK. In a separate investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority raided the London offices of StubHub and Viagogo. The new arrests are linked to alleged breaches of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which introduce a general prohibition against unfair commercial practices, specific prohibitions against misleading and aggressive practices and a blacklist of 31 practices that will be deemed unfair in all circumstances.    A National Trading Standards statement said “Officers from National Trading Standards conducted raids at a number of…

Activist sues the Ultra Music Festival over accessibility
Live Events / December 2017
USA

EQUALITY Live events sector   One of America’s largest EDM festivals, Ultra Music Festival is being sued for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.  A legally blind activist and Paralympic athlete with cerebral palsy, Juan Carlos Gil, has brought a legal action against the organisation on the grounds that their website and live events are not easily accessible for the visually impaired or those with other disabilities. The law suit is described as a “public motion for greater inclusivity” and Gil’s lawyer, Scott R. Dinin, told reporters:  “All we’re asking [Ultra] to do is recognise [that] this is a very diverse population, to make all their offerings available to all people in that population. We think it’ll make it a better Ultra experience and, obviously, a better Miami”  adding “I think the biggest misperception of this law is that people don’t understand that it’s been law for 25 years,” Dinin said. “This same law is a civil rights law”.    Dinin has said that he hopes the festival will feel pressure to adopt measures more sensitive to people with disabilities. He cites Colorado and California concerts he’s attended, which often have sign-language interpreters and other accommodations. He adds that the visually impaired can enjoy music like…

Met axes Form 696
Live Events / December 2017
UK

EQUALITY Live events sector   IQ reported that London’s Metropolitan police is to abolish form 696, the controversial risk-assessment document critics claim discriminates against grime and other predominantly black music, in a move welcomed by mayor Sadiq Khan. Following a review process, which included consultations with local authorities, venues, the Musicians’ Union, London Promoter Forum and the Institute of Licensing, the Met announced it is to abolish the form – which it acknowledged was perceived to “disproportionately affect” certain genres of music – in favour of a “new voluntary partnership approach” with venues and promoters in the city.    A survey had revealed that almost half the British general public think that the controversial risk-assessment document Form 696 is discriminatory against those forced to complete it. The results of the survey are part of Ticketmaster’s State of Play: Grime report and shows that 48% of those polled – a “nationally representative” sample of the British population – think the form is discriminatory because it only applies to certain events. Culture minister Matt Hancock and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, are among those to have called for a review of form 696, which is used by London’s Metropolitan police to determine the potential level of…

Agent of Change to (hopefully) change and protect UK Live Music and Venues
Live Events / December 2017
UK

PLANNING Live events sector   UK Music has launched a new campaign with the aim to persuade Parliament to introduce the “agent of change” principle into UK law.  It’s been bubbling under for some time now (see http://www.musiclawupdates.com/?p=6681 and we last updated readers on this in March 2017.  But what is the “agent of change” principle? Three years ago, Frank Turner warned the Culture Secretary Sajid Javid that  the country is facing “a meltdown in the British live music circuit” as venues closed – often forced to shut by new developments as new residents and businesses who move in then objected to being next door to a venue. In short it means that the person/ business responsible for the change is also responsible for the management of the impact of the change.  For example, new houses are being built near a live music venue: Under the agent of change principle, because the business behind the new houses is creating a change, the business would be responsible for paying for the soundproofing.  On the flipside, if a new music venue wanted to set up in a residential area, the venue would be responsible for the newly required soundproofing.  UK law at the moment says…

Las Vegas atrocity prompts multiple law suits
Criminal Law , Live Events / December 2017
USA

NEGLIGENCE Live events sector   Hundreds of victims of the October 1st mass shooting in Las Vegas have filed five lawsuits in the Los Angeles Superior Court against the operators of the hotel from which the gunman fired, the organisers of the country music festival he targeted and the killer’s estate. The shootings at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas claimed the lives of 59 people and left hundreds of others injured. Gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, targeting music fans at the country music festival. The largest of the law suits names 450 plaintiffs. Amongst those being sued are MGM Resorts International, owner of the Mandalay Bay resort; Live Nation, organiser of the event; and the estate of gunman Stephen Paddock. Muhammad Aziz, a Houston-based lawyer who has filed the lawsuits said they were filed in California because nearly all the plaintiffs lived in the state and had been treated there. He also noted that Live Nation Entertainment was a California-based company. The plaintiffs claim negligence by both MGM and Live Nation. They accuse MGM of not having adequate security policies, not properly…

CTS Eventim’s acquisition of Four Artists blocked
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / December 2017
Germany

COMPETITION / CONSUMER Live events sector   Germany’s competition regulator has blocked CTS Eventim from acquiring Berlin-based booking agency Four Artists, citing concerns about the ticketing firm’s dominance in the country’s live industry. Among the artists represented by Four Artists are David Guetta, James Blunt, Chase & Status and Best Coast. Andreas Mundt, the President of Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) , said: “CTS Eventim is already the market leader in Germany and by far the largest ticket system. In addition, it has already integrated various tour operators into its group structure in the past” adding that the Four Artists acquisition “would strengthen CTS’s existing dominant position [in the ticketing market] thereby significantly hindering effective competition in the affected markets” explaining that “With Four Artists, CTS Eventim would integrate a major event organiser into its group, locking additional ticket allocations of between 500,000 and one million tickets per year to its own system”, it went on. “The expansion possibilities for competing ticket system providers would thereby be weakened”. The Bundeskartellamt said the CTS Eventim system distributes 60 to 70 per cent of all tickets sold in Germany via its systems. In contrast, most other providers are much smaller, and “in part…

CMA to take action over secondary ticketing abuses
Competition , Consumers , Live Events / December 2017
UK

COMPETITION / CONSUMER Live events sector   Hot on the back of news that Google is updating its rules on how ticket-resellers can advertise on its search engine, meaning secondary ticketing platforms globally will have to be certified with Google before they can advertise using its AdWords platform (in turn promoting greater transparency), comes the announcement that the UK’s Competition And Markets Authority (CMA) will take enforcement action against secondary ticketing websites suspected of breaking consumer protection law following a long-running investigation – through the courts, if necessary. The CMA said it has gathered evidence, which it considers reveals breaches of the law, and identified “widespread concerns” about the information consumers are given. The CMA launched an “enforcement investigation” into secondary ticketing in December 2016. The CMA then said that it intended to “consider whether, in its view, both the businesses selling tickets and the secondary ticketing platforms advertising them are failing to provide the full range of information in breach of the law and, if so, take enforcement action”, responding to claims that the major re-sale platforms were ignoring transparency obligations laid out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015. These include stating the face value of the tickets being sold, information on the…

Goldenvoice wins another ‘Chella’ battle
Live Events , Trade Mark / November 2017
USA

TRADE MARK Live events sector    A court in California has upheld a complaint made by Coachella organiser Goldenvoice against the organisers of the Filmchella film festival in the same state, granting a preliminary injunction against the latter holding that name is liable to cause “consumer confusion” with the well established music festival.    The complaint, filed by Coachella Music Festival LLC in the US District Court for Central California, argued that Filmchella founder Robert Trevor Simms and twenty other defendants were using the similar-sounding name to their name and trade mark for their multiday outdoor film festival. To add to this, the complaint says that both events feature numerous forms of entertainment and camping, are held in Southern California and that Simms has pitched his planned festival as “Coachella for movies”.    Coachella Music Festival LLC owns several trademarks and servicemarks associated with the festival, including the Coachella servicemark and “Chella” for use on shirts and T-shirts; However the trademark for use of “Chella” in “musical” and “cultural and arts events”, “campground facilities”, “hotel accommodation services”, drinks, transportation and other clothing has not as yet been registered.   The suit said “Trading on the goodwill of plaintiffs’ famous ‘Coachella’ festival, defendants…

New copyright tariffs for Germany’s live sector
Copyright , Live Events / November 2017
Germany

COPYRIGHT Live events sector   Following lengthy negotiations which involved court action from two of Germany’s live entertainment business associations, a new concert tariff rate has been agreed between representatives of the country’s live music sector (BDV and VDKD, which represent the majority of Germany’s concert promoters) and performance royalty collection organisation GEMA. Collected on behalf of songwriters and music publishers, the rate will now be calculated on a net basis of ticket sales, instead of gross, with other services including camping fees at festivals and sponsoring income taken into account. The new rate will be 5.75% of net receipts for events under 2,000 people (it is currently 5% on gross receipts), 7.6% for 2,000–15,000-capacity shows (currently 7.2%) and 8% for events with a capacity of 15,000+ (currently 7.65%).   The German PRO collected €1.02bn in royalty payments in 2016, including €371.1m in public performance fees, in its most successful financial year to date. GEMA has faced increasing criticism in recent years, and artists and event-organisers have demanded a revision of GEMA’s regulations with respect to better transparency, adjusted payment methods and other critical points.  In the live sector, the large discounts offered to some promoters have attracted criticism some of the…

Met’s Form 696 back in the spotlight after new survey results
Discrimination , Live Events / November 2017
UK

EQUALITY Live events sector   A new survey has revealed that almost half the British general public think that the controversial risk-assessment document Form 696 is discriminatory against those forced to complete it. the results of the survey are part of Ticketmaster’s State of Play: Grime report and shows that 48% of those polled – a “nationally representative” sample of the British population – think the form is discriminatory because it only applies to certain events. Culture minister Matt Hancock and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, are among those to have called for a review of form 696, which is used by London’s Metropolitan police to determine the potential level of risk involved in events where a DJ or MC is using a backing track. The study was produced by Ticketmaster’s LiveAnalytics division in partnership with Disrupt and the University of Westminster’s black music research unit. Form 696  currently asks for the names, stage names, addresses and phone numbers of all promoters and artists at events where pre-recorded backing tracks are used. An earlier version of the document also asked about the specific genre of music being performed and likely ethnic make-up of the audience. Those questions were dropped in 2009 after allegations they were racial…

Different jurisdictions take aim at the touts
Consumers , Live Events / November 2017
USA

CONSUMER RIGHTS Live events sector   Live Nation owned Ticketmaster is taking legal action against two companies in the US, which the ticketing giant believes have used bot technology to buy up tickets for live shows. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ticketmaster has filed the lawsuit against Prestige Entertainment, Renaissance Ventures and two individuals over the use of bots to purchase tickets from its platform. Earlier this year, Prestige and Renaissance agreed to pay the majority of a $4.2 million settlement with New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and also agreed to stop using bots. Ticketmaster now says it has evidence that this agreement has been broken. “Ticketmaster has uncovered evidence that suggests Renaissance has already breached the agreement by continuing to utilise bots to purchase tickets offered by Ticketmaster”, says the lawsuit. It also says that the defendants have ignored cease and desist letters.   Anti-bot legislation is becoming more common, but New South Wales is leading the way with regulations to protect consumers and govern the re-sale of tickets with a a cap on a re-sale price not to exceed 110% of the original ticket price. The state’s Minister For Better Regulation Matt Kean had previously said  “I’m sick and tired of consumers being…

The UK’s competition regulator approves Live Nations takeover of the Isle of Wight Festival
Competition , Live Events / October 2017
UK

COMPETITION Live events sector   The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority has approved Live Nation’s acquisition of the Isle of Wight Festival, concluding that the live giant’s latest expansion of its festival portfolio does not raise any competition issues. The deal was concluded through the LNE-Gaiety joint venture between Denis Desmond’s Gaiety and Live Nation. Desmond is also non-executive Chairman of LNE.    Prior to the decision, the UK’s festival trade association, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) had written to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) urging the CMA to widen its investigation into the acquisition of Isle of Wight Festival to include an inquiry into global promoter’s “position in the [UK] market overall”. AIF published a report that showed that Live Nation either owns or holds a majority stake in nearly a quarter (23%) of all UK events with a capacity of over 5,000. In total, Live Nation controls 28 UK festivals, including eight of Britain’s largest outdoor events (Download, V Festival, Reading/Leeds, Parklife, Creamfields, Lovebox and Wilderness) but  whilst this excludes Glastonbury, it is almost three times more than its nearest competitor, Global, which AIF says has a  8% marketshare. Rival AEG promotes the 65,000 capacity British…

Radiohead stage death trial collapses
Health & Safety , Live Events / October 2017
Canada
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   “No doubt, this decision will be incomprehensible to Mr Johnson’s family, who can justifiably complain that justice has not been done”. Judge Ann Nelson   The criminal case and trial against the organisers of Radiohead’s 2012 concert in Toronto where British drum technician Scott Johnson was killed and three others injured when a scaffolding structure collapsed at Downsview Park in June 16th 2012 has ended because of delays in the trial itself, primarily as the original judge hearing the case received a promotion. In July 2017 Justice Shaun Nakatsuru, said that his appointment to the Ontario Superior Court meant he no longer had jurisdiction over the case. Nakatsuru said he came to the decision with “great regret” saying “My appointment was unexpected and without notice. I know that the defendants have waited a long time for the final resolution of this case. So has the public” and “There are many compelling reasons why it would be in the best interests of justice for me to finish this. But I cannot.” The show was promoted by Live Nation, and LNE and its Ontario subsidiary were subsequently charged under the Canadian province’s Occupational Health And Safety Act….

Foos fight the touts
Consumers , Contract , Live Events / October 2017
UK
USA

CONTRACT / CONSUMER Live events sector   Foo Fighters have risked a PR disaster by turning away fans who had brought tickets for their show at London’s September 19th O2 from secondary re-sellers. Whilst the band  apologised to fans who were turned away from the O2 Arena  buying tickets from the secondary sites they and promoters SJM Concerts said they had made it very clear at the point of sale that each buyer’s name was printed on each ticket for the show and that buyers would be required to show ID to prove it was their name on the ticket before being granted entry.    It was reported that 200 people were turned away at the doors. In a statement, the band said: “The Foo Fighters show that took place at The O2 last night had a strict ‘names on ticket’ policy. The stipulation that ID would be required for admittance to the show was clearly stated at the time of announcement and was explicitly noticed at the point of purchase”. The band added that a number of other measures to ensure that tickets were not resold by touts were also put in place adding “despite these requirements being in place, some purchasers listed…

Kanye fights on in cancelled tour insurance claim
Insurance , Live Events / October 2017
USA

INSURANCE Live events sector   The dispute between Kanye West and the insurers of his abandoned 2016 ‘St Pablo’ tour continues, and West has now responded to a countersuit filed by the tour’s insurers West’s $10 million insurance claim was made when he prematurely ended his US tour last November after ‘erratic behaviour’. He was subsequently admitted to the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital Center, with one news agency sating at the time that this was “for his own health and safety”. West sued his insurers at the beginning of August 2017. West claimed that he ended his 2016 tour early on the advice of doctors, and therefore the insurance policy must cover the losses incurred by West and his company Very Good Touring. The lawsuit also alleged that Lloyd’s fed confidential information about West to news outlets, and states that the insurers’ own selected doctor asserted that West’s mental condition was “disabling” enough to prevent him from continuing the tour.   The insurers countersued, accusing West of not fully co-operating with their investigation into the circumstances around the ‘St Pablo’ cancellation. The Lloyds of London insurers also alleged that there were “substantial irregularities in Mr West’s medical history In the lawsuit.”  An independent…

Viagogo faces Australian investigation
Competition , Live Events / September 2017
Australia
UK

COMPETITION / CONSUMER Live events sector    The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has begun legal proceedings against the secondary ticketing website Viagogo, accusing the controversial ticket resale platform of making false or misleading representations, and of engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct, joining a number of actions that Viagogo is facing in different countries around the globe.   In the UK, Viagogo has faced growing complaints, not least because it re-sold tickets for the Teenage Cancer Trust charity concert, because not one representative of the now Swiss based company turned up for the investigation into ticketing by the Parliamentary Culture Select Committee despite Viagogo having a UK office, and has faced a furious backlash from consumers, most noticeably from the Victims Of Viagogo campaign on Facebook.   The ACCC is claiming in the filing with the Australian Federal Court that the secondary ticketing company breached Australian consumer rights law between 1st May and 26th June this year. Among the specific complaints made by the ACCC are that:  Viagogo failed to disclose upfront significant booking fees, estimating that these average 27.6% for most events; that it misled consumers about ticket availability by making statements like “less than 1% of tickets…

Ticket touts and secondary re-sellers face increased scrutiny across Europe
Competition , Live Events / September 2017
EU
UK

COMPETITION / CONSUMER Live events sector   Spain and Italy are taking the lead on clamping down on ticket touting and some of the less savoury activities of some players in the secondary ticketing market, and now some of the biggest ticketing companies and concert promoters in Spain and Italy are facing prosecution.   In Milan, state prosecutor Adriano Scudieri has accused promoters Di and Gi, Live Nation and Vivo of misleading consumers the actual reality of a ‘sell out’ for some shows – panicking fans into hasty purchases at over inflated tickets prices for shows they were told were about to sell-out. Scudueri also claims that a number of companies signed “hidden agreements” with secondary ticketing site Viagogo to supply tickets to Viagogo from the primary market for sale at “unreasonably” high prices, netting €1.4 million in the process.   The State Prosecutor has announced that there will be two charges brought against the secondary ticketing companies.  The first will be for defrauding the State of 1.4 Million Euros, as a result of artificial price-rigging. The companies have further been accused of conspiring against the Italian music collection society, SIAE, and will be charged with defrauding the State of 150,000…

Potential sale of Isle of Wight Festival opens up competition issues
Competition , Live Events / September 2017
UK

COMPETITION Live events sector   The UK’s festivals trade association, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has written to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) urging the CMA to widen its investigation into Live Nation’s acquisition of Isle of Wight Festival to include an inquiry into US promoter’s “position in the [UK] market overall”. The 60 festival strong group made the recommendation after publishing research that showed that Live Nation either owns or holds a majority stake in nearly a quarter (23%) of all UK events with a capacity of over 5,000. In total, Live Nation controls 28 UK festivals, including eight of Britain’s largest outdoor events (Download, V Festival, Reading/Leeds, Parklife, Creamfields, Lovebox and Wilderness) and whilst this excludes Glastonbury, it is almost three times more than its nearest competitor, Global, which AIF says has a  8% marketshare. Rival AEG promotes the 65,000 capacity British Summer Time shows in London’s Hyde Park. Live Nation has divisions operating in tour and festival promotion, venue management, primary and secondary ticketing, and artist management, and continues to be acquisitive, not least in the UK where it has bought into a number of touring, festival and venue companies in recent years. AIF’s general manager, Paul Reed,…

Filmchella faces Coachella complaint
Live Events , Trade Mark / September 2017
USA

TRADE MARK Live events sector   Goldenvoice, the organizers of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, one of the world’s leading music festivals, have filed a trademark infringement lawsuit over the planned “Flmchella” film festival, arguing that the new event has refused repeated requests to change its name.  The complaint, filed by Coachella Music Festival LLC in the US District Court for Central California, says that Filmchella founder Robert Trevor Simms and twenty other defendants are using the similar-sounding name to their name and trade mark for their multiday outdoor film festival. To add to this, the complaint says that both events feature numerous forms of entertainment and camping, are held in Southern California and that Simms has pitched his planned festival as “Coachella for movies”. The film festival is scheduled to run from the 29th September to the 1st October in Joshua Tree, California. Coachella Music Festival LLC owns several trademarks and servicemarks associated with the festival, including the Coachella servicemark and “Chella” for use on shirts and T-shirts; However the trademark for use of “Chella” in “musical” and “cultural and arts events”, “campground facilities”, “hotel accommodation services”, drinks, transportation and other clothing has not as yet been…

Arcade under Fire
Contract , Live Events / August 2017
Canada

CONTRACT Live events sector   The Canadian indie rock group, Arcade Fire, has come under fire for requesting attendees to its Everything Now release show at Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall to wear ‘hip and trendy’ clothes. Apple has plans to live-stream the event on Apple Music and it has been reported that they were the ones to send the notice to ticket holders.   The notice that was emailed to the ticket holders for the intimate gig asked that they refrain from wearing “shorts, large logos, flip flops, tank tops, crop tops, baseball hats, solid white or red clothing,” the notice went on to say “We reserve the right to deny entry to anyone dressed inappropriately.”   The notice did not stop there, ticket holders were asked to make the show a “phone-free experience”. The notice explained that “all phones and smart watches will be secured in Yondr pouches that will be unlocked at the end of the show”.   Now this is Music Law Updates, so naturally the question arises as to the legal standing of the notice. Disclaimer: for the purposes of this article I will pretend that the Arcade Fire gig is to be held in England, and therefore English law…

Barry based security firm under investigation
Health & Safety , Live Events / August 2017
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   A Welsh event security firm is under investigation by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) for allegedly supplying unlicensed stewards to several British music festivals. The Security Industry Authority (SIA) confirmed it was investigating LS Armour Security Ltd of Barry, South Wales, following a compliance check. The SIA It said it was “exceptional” for it to comment publicly and had taken “unprecedented action due to public safety.” The investigation is looking at wether the firm supplied cloned badges to unlicensed stewards at UK festivals. Reports say that Lee Szuchnik of LS Armour Security, had advertised for security staff for several festivals this summer, including Glastonbury Festival, Shindig Weekender in Bruton, Somerset, and Mutiny Festival in Portsmouth. The company has also been recruiting for stewards for Liverpool International Music Festival and Lewes Live Festival later this month.   In a statement, an SIA spokesman said: “This type of unlawful conduct remains rare due to responsible organisers and security providers conducting appropriate due diligence …. Nevertheless, the SIA understands that at this time of year, event organisers and primary contractors may not have sufficient SIA-licensed staff, which can lead to extensive sub-contracting” and “This provides opportunities to rogue providers…

Will legalities rain down on the Purple Rain stage show?
UK

COPYRIGHT Live events sector, music publishing   It has been announced that a ‘jukebox musical’ made up of Prince’s songs will tour the UK next year and the current plan is that it will open very shortly with a string of dates across the UK.     I say plan because Prince’s family or the Prince estate has not given permission for the musical. In fact, Troy Carter, entertainment advisor to the Prince estate has explained that “Neither Prince’s family nor the estate have given permission to use his name, likeness or music catalogue for this event”,   But do they need permission?  With the music, there are two licensing issues that must be taken into account.    Firstly, let’s take the boring option, if the Purple Rain musical is in essence just a band performing Prince’s catalogue of music, nothing more, nothing less, so in effect a tribute band playing Prince songs (albeit under the guise of a musical) it would be likely that permission of the Prince estate would not be needed. This is because it is possible to obtain, or play a venues where  a PRS ‘blanket licence’ will cover the public performance of the musical works.   Now, the more…

Connecting to free wifi at venues ? Make sure you read the small print!
Belgium

DATA REGULATION / CONTRACT Live events sector Some 22,000 people have agreed to undertake 1,000 hours of community service – including cleaning festival toilets and scraping chewing gum from the pavement – in return for free wireless internet, reveals an experiment designed to illustrate a lack of awareness among consumers signing up for free in-venue wifi. Purple, who launched the experiment, said “We welcome the strengthening of data protection laws across Europe that GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] will bring. Not only will it give wifi end users more control over how their personal data is being used by companies, it will also raise the level of trust in the digital economy”. During the experiment users were given the chance to flag the unreasonable condition in return for a prize. But only one person did. In separate news, Belgium newspaper De Standaard reports that the Belgian Privacy Commission is investigating the way the Tomorrowland festival shares ticket buyer data with the federal police to screen attendees for security reasons. 8 ticket-buyers have been excluded from the Belgian festival this year https://www.iq-mag.net/2017/07/connecting-wifi-venues-read-small-print-purple/#.WX7ec4TyuM- –    

New regulatory powers for live music for Balearic Island councils
Licensing , Live Events / August 2017
Spain

LICENSING Live events sector   The Council of Ibiza will have the power to ban new open-air music venues under new provisions in the Balearic Islands’ tourism law which was passed in July 18th. When in effect, the new law will apply to Mallorca, Menorca, Formentera and Ibiza. An amendment has been made by the socialist PSOE party that grants the four local councils the power to “regulate, determine or prohibit, in a reasonable manner, tourist activities” related to entertainment, and that would include any venue hosting musical events, including clubs, café conciertos, beach clubs and ballrooms.  Vicent Torres, director of tourism for Ibiza council said “It was very clear that the tourism law needed to be modified … such a previously liberal law offered the opportunity for activities that are incompatible with the day-to-day life of an island that wants a sustainable kind of tourism.”  The amendment also states that the islands’ municipalities may apply more restrictive measures without the agreement of the  relevant council.    http://mixmag.net/read/a-new-law-will-give-the-ibiza-council-the-power-to-ban-open-air-venues-news

Ed Sheeran takes on the touts
Competition , Live Events / August 2017
UK

COMPETITION Live events sector   The promoters of Ed Sheeran’s UK 2018 stadium tour have cancelled up to 10,000 touted tickets to put back into the primary market.  Kilimanjaro, DHP Family and AEG Presents confirmed in a statement  that they were cancelling any touted tickets to the sold out stadium shows. The promoters told fans to only buy tickets from primary sellers or their approved secondary site, resale platform Twickets which re-sells at face value.  Viagogo was targeted by Sheerhan’s team after eBay’s StubHub and Live Nation’s Seatwave and Get Me In! agreed to the musician’s request to block touted tickets.   The promoters statement reads:  “[We] and Ed Sheeran’s team worked closely together in advance of the on-sale date to put in place measures designed to protect fans from profiteering companies”. Noting that “most profiteering companies heeded the promoters’ warnings not to trade and resell tickets that would instantly be cancelled”, the statement adds: “This has resulted in 90% of tickets being delivered directly into fans’ hands at the face value” and “Despite these efforts, it has become clear that one company, Viagogo, have ignored the promoters’ requests, and there is an increasing number of customers who are realising they…

Sid Bernstein’s Estate fails in its copyright claim over the Beatles’ Shea Stadium film
Contract , Copyright , Live Events / August 2017
USA

CONTRACT / COPYRIGHT Live events sector, film, TV   A New York judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought the estate of promoter Sid Bernstein, who staged the Beatles’ legendary 1965 show at Shea Stadium. The Estate had argued that band’s Apple Corps had infringed on the copyright of Sid Bernstein Presents by including footage from the concert in ron Howard’s  documentary film Eight Days a Week – the Toruing Years which was released in September 2016.     The Estate’s action sought ownership (or joint ownership) of the master tapes and copyright by Bernstein’s company, Sid Bernstein Presents, arguing that, “[w]ithout Sid, the mastermind of the event, this film would never have been made”.   Copyright to the film, originally released in 1966 as The Beatles at Shea Stadium, was acquired by Apple Corps and the band’s Subafilms, from their management company, Nems Enterprises. In a ruling on the 26th July, Judge George B. Daniels, in the US District Court for Southern New York, said the company could not claim ownership of the footage as Bernstein did not himself film the concert, instead signing over the rights to do so to Nems. Judge Daniels held:  “The relevant legal question is not the extent to which Bernstein…

Injunction available after claimed licence fees paid – PPL v JJPB
Copyright , Live Events / July 2017
UK

COPYRIGHT Live events sector By Rosie Burbidge writing for the IPKat    Should an injunction be granted when the licence fees which were the reason for a claim being issued have all been paid? What about if further licence fee payments (incurred after the claim form was issued) have not been paid?   Phonographic Performance Limited (or PPL) “licenses recorded music played in public or broadcast and then distributes the licence fees to its performer and recording rightsholder members.” It is one of the most regular users of the IP Enterprise Court.   One of its recent targets, Mr Gaughan, runs a bar called the Watkins Folly.  The owner, Mr Gaughan reached a settlement with PPL shortly after service of the claim form. He paid the licence fee for past infringements but: (i) did not set up the agreed Direct Debit to cover payments over the following year and; (ii) continued  to play sound recordings to the public. After failed attempts to persuade Mr Gaughan to pay up, PPL applied to the court for judgment in default and to lift the automatic stay which applies six months after the period for filing a defence has expired.  The big question was not whether Mr Gaughan was…

Radiohead stage collapse trial to be re-set
Canada
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY Live events sector   A new trial has been set for the defendants charged after the stage collapse at an outdoor Radiohead concert in Toronto five years ago, which killed British drum technician Scott Johnson, then aged 33.   Johnson was killed and three others were injured after scaffolding collapsed. The show was promoted by Live Nation and the live music giant was subsequently charged under Ontario’s Occupational Health And Safety Act. Optex Staging & Services Inc was also charged over four alleged breaches of health and safety laws, while an engineer working on the show, Dominic Cugliari, faced a single charge. The case had progressed progressed for some forty days,  and closing arguments were expected but a mistrial was declared after the presiding judge, Justice Shaun Nakatsuru, said that his recent appointment to the Ontario Superior Court meant he no longer had jurisdiction over the case. Nakatsuru said he came to the decision with “great regret” saying “My appointment was unexpected and without notice. I know that the defendants have waited a long time for the final resolution of this case. So has the public” and “There are many compelling reasons why it would be in the best interests of…

One for the scalpers! Connecticut prohibits ticket resale restrictions
Competition , Contract , Live Events / July 2017
USA

CONTRACT / COMPETITION Live events sector   Much to the dismay of those who are fighting back against ticket touts and scalpers, but in a move billed as “protecting consumers who purchase e-tickets”, the US state of Connecticut has passed legislation that will to prohibit terms that restrict the sale of non-transferable paperless tickets. Whilst a growing number of major artists, including, prominently, Iron Maiden, now use named electronic tickets which usually require proof of ID to enter the venue to clamp down on the rapidly escalating secondary ticketing industry (which regularly harvests large quantities of tickets before real fans can get their hands on them, forcing them to pay inflated prices to the scalpers), Connecticut House Bill 7114 (HB 7114) has been passed to block these moves and remove restrictions on the sale of entertainment event tickets on the secondary market. The Act has been signed into law by Governor Dan Malloy and outlaws the practice unless “the purchaser of such tickets is offered the option, at the time of initial sale, to purchase the same tickets in another form that is transferrable”. The new legislation also prohibits venues from denying admission “solely on the grounds that such ticket has been…

Belgian live industry go to court over the Sabam rate hike
Belgium
EU
USA

COMPETITION  / COPYRIGHT Live events sector, collection societies   The live sector in Belgian including the Rock Werchter, Pukkelpop and Night Of The Proms, festivals and tour promoter GraciaLive are heading to court with the  country’s performing rights organisation Sabam over the new royalty rates introduced at the start of the year by the PRO. Sabam justified the recent changes to the live event tariffs to bring Belgium more in line with royalties charged elsewhere in Europe.  Jan Vereecke of Night Of The Proms promoter PSE told HLN: “Sabam has unilaterally decided to increase its tariffs by 30%. It says this is based on what is charged by societies in neighbouring countries, but the rate increase is a simple abuse of monopoly”, adding “Actually, the whole system is outdated. Sabam takes a percentage of our ticket sales. But the shows of today are different than ten years ago, as staging, large screens, fireworks and such like become more common. These production elements increase the costs of the show, and therefore the cost of the ticket, and Sabam gets to skim more off the top. That is wrong”.   And in the USA, the ongoing issues around a planned move to ‘100%…

Fyre Festival failure prompts legal challenges
Contract , Live Events / June 2017
USA

CONTRACT Live events sector     Why anyone thought the partnership of rapper, a young technology ‘serial entrepreneur’, neither of whom had organised a festival before, and an unbelievable Instagram video featuring models Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin and Emily Ratajkowski sailing on a luxury yacht and posing on beautiful beaches would result in a mind blowing festival is anyone’s guess. Spending thousands of dollars on ‘artists passes’ is an equally misguided approach to the festival scene. The fact that the elite few who made the trip to the disastrous Fyre Festival had paid anything between $1,200 to over $100,000 to the two-weekend event on Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas for the promised “once-in-a-lifetime” musical experience with beach cabanas and gourmet cuisine was almost certainly a recipe for a lawsuit. Especially when festival-goers then complained of delayed and cancelled flights, being stranded for hours without food, water or shelter, luggage being “unceremoniously dumped from shipping containers” and allegedly left for thieves to to rifle through, and a so called luxury village which consisted of refugee tents, rubbish piled high and burst water pipes.    Now a new lawsuit also alleges Fyre’s organisers warned musicians and celebrities not to attend the…

Winsconsin to let minors attend festivals
Licensing , Live Events / June 2017
USA

LICENSING Live events sector   Wisconsin Governor. Scott Walker has signed a new bill which will allow minors to attend music festivals where alcohol is being served.  Under current law, minors may not be on the premises of a site that has been issued an alcohol license unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. However, a number of venues are exempt from the law, including bowling alleys, movie theatres and sports stadiums. In a statement, Governor Walker said adding music festivals to the list “just made sense.”  Under the new law, minors will be allowed to attend a music festival where alcohol is served on private property as long as attendance is expected to exceed more than 2,500 people which will mirror state laws already in place for festivals on public property, such as Summerfest in Milwaukee. Assembly Bill 194 adds music festivals to the list of exceptions, and was authored by Representative Rob Summerfield (R – Bloomer) and Senator Terry Moulton (R – Chippewa Falls). The Bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote, and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote. It is Act 7. http://urbanmilwaukee.com/pressrelease/governor-walker-signs-music-festival-bill-into-law/ http://www.fox9.com/news/256718883-story

Italian ticketers hit with €1.7m in fines
Competition , Live Events / May 2017
Italy

COMPETITION Live events sector   The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) has levied fines totalling €1.7 million on five ticket agencies for breaching consumer rights legislation AGCM’s investigation dates back to October, when consumer group Altroconsumo asked the quango to look into allegations primary seller TicketOne was passing tickets directly to the secondary market. It found that while TicketOne, owned by Germany’s CTS Eventim, is “contractually bound to adopt anti-touting measures, [it] did not take appropriate steps to prevent bulk buying through specialist software, nor has it tried to limit multiple purchases or set up a system of ex-post controls to cancel them”.   For violating article 20(2) of the Italian Consumer Code, TicketOne has been fined €1m. Additionally, four secondary ticketing sites – Viagogo, MyWayTicket, Live Nation’s Seatwave and eBay/StubHub’s Ticketbis – have been hit with a collective €700,000 fine for their failure to provide complete ticket information to customers “concerning several essential elements which potential buyers need to make their transactional decisions”. “In particular, the traders would not provide adequate information concerning the ticket features, including their face value, the row and the seat, as well as consumer rights in case of the event’s cancellation,” reads a statement from AGCM….

Isle of Wight festival sale in the spotlight
Competition , Live Events / May 2017
UK

COMPETITION Live events sector   The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is to investigate the recently announced acquisition of  the Isle of Wight Festival by Live Nation. The CMA said  it was: “considering, pursuant to section 22 of the [2002 Enterprise] Act”, whether the merger of Isle of Wight Festival Ltd and Live Nation/Denis Desmond’s LN-Gaiety Holdings Ltd “has resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets in the United Kingdom”. The live music major has expanded its UK festivals portfolio considerably in recent years, mainly via LN-Gaiety, its joint venture with Irish music industry veteran Denis Desmond, who now heads up Live Nation’s UK operation. LNE owns festivals including Creamfields, Dowlnload and Wireless in the UK and subsidiary Festival Republic runs the Reading, Leeds and Lattitude festivals and over 85 festivas worldwide.    LNE describes itself as “the largest live entertainment company, operates concert promotions, venue operations, sponsorship, ticketing solutions The CMA says the two companies are currently prohibited from taking any actions which may “lead to the integration of the Isle of Wight Festival business with the Live Nation business” or “transfer the ownership or control of the Live Nation…